Enid Blyton

The Birthday Party

The Birthday Party

Enid Blyton Signature

In 1941, Eileen Soper’s publisher Macmillan suggested a new partnership with an up and coming children’s author: Enid Blyton. This was the start of a relationship that would span over 20 years and one that made Eileen Soper something of a household name, particularly amongst the youth of the day.

Eileen first worked on three Nature Readers: beautifully illustrated books that used fun and lively stories to teach nature facts to young children, as well as one of Enid Blyton’s earlier works I’ll tell you a story. She was later commissioned to work on more of the Nature Readers and in 1943 was asked to illustrate 60 Nature Plates (wall charts) to accompany them.

Although the relationship between author and illustrator was very formal, there were multiple communications by letter, many of which are entrusted to The Soper Collection.

In these letters, Enid Blyton praises Eileen’s work:

I hope you are not too busy for this, as I couldn’t bear anyone else to do it. I think you produce a lovely set!

November 18, 1950. Written from her home at Green Hedges (see opposite)

…..I loved the Nature Books designs from Macmillan. You will be interested to know that my fans never mention any artist but you…. they seem to recognise your pictures but nobody else’s.

October 23, 1952. Written from the Grosvenor Hotel, Swanage, Dorset.

Enid Blyton letter - The Soper Collection

Enid Blyton letter - The Soper Collection

Bringing life to The Famous Five

Eileen’s most popular illustrative work was for the complete 21-volume set of ‘The Famous Five’ series commencing in 1942 with Five on a Treasure Island. She captures the excitement of these tales perfectly, creating the iconic images of Julian, Dick, Anne, Georgina and, of course, Georgina’s dog Timmy.

As ‘The Five’ romped around the English countryside enjoying adventures and getting into the occasional scrape, it is Eileen’s portrayal of these characters that has stuck in the mind of generations of young children. Whilst new covers have been commissioned, the books continue with Eileen’s original illustrations. Earlier editions with her covers are keenly sought by collectors.

The Soper Collection contains every Blyton title illustrated by Eileen, including the Nature Readers and accompanying Nature Plates.

“Five on a Treasure Island” book cover - Eileen Soper

“Five on a Treasure Island” book cover – Eileen Soper

36 five go to smugglers top A DJ

“Five Go To Smuggler’s Top” book cover – Eileen Soper

The Famous Five®, Enid Blyton® and Enid Blyton’s signature are Registered Trademarks of Hodder & Stoughton Limited. Text and illustrations © Hodder & Stoughton Limited.
Enid Blyton® and Enid Blyton’s signature are Registered Trademarks of Hodder & Stoughton Limited. © Hodder & Stoughton Limited.


Join us on our exciting journey to provide a permanent, public home for the works of the Soper family.

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